FROM PRODIGAL TO PASTOR
BITS: Now on your eighth year as a pastor, what do you see as the effect in a family when the father is spiritually ailing or dead?
DU: The accountability lies in the hands of the husband/father. When we fail to do the task God entrusted to us, it will affect the whole family. I believe God will hold each of the fathers and husbands accountable for the failures.
BITS: How about if they don’t know they are supposed to be the head?
DU: God gave us the manual of life, the bible. And if we fail, if we neglect, there’s no excuse that we do not know. God gave us so much time to know the biblical principles of handling the family, relationships, in living our lives in accordance with what God has willed for us.
BITS: In your experience with counselees, do you see a greater percentage of brokenness when they have a problem in their relationship with their earthly fathers?
DU: In jail, 70% of inmates are drug related; most of them have dysfunctional families. I’m not saying it’s all because of the fathers but since the father is supposed to be the leader, a lot lies in the father’s hands. Even in rehab and fraternities, most of the kids we have counseled were affected by bad modeling or experiences, first with the father then the rest with the mother.
BITS: For sons of such fathers, how would you talk to them?
DU: I normally start by sharing what happened to me, what I experienced with my father. I can’t just say, “You’re wrong”. I ask questions that will help them realize the area where they are failing. A constant reminder for me that it is not my duty to change a person, it’s God’s duty. My role as a counselor/pastor is to help enlighten, help him see areas in his life where in he is becoming negligent or failing. Help that person see the effects of going against the guidelines of the parents, help him see that he is not just rebelling against parents but against God. If he rebels, what are the possible consequences. I believe the very reason God allowed me to undergo so many colorful experiences as a child, as a father, and husband is so that I have experiences to share with my counselees. We are able to establish a common ground.
BITS: If a child has lost faith in God, perhaps thinking that God is not listening to prayers, how would you encourage this person?
DU: First, I remind him that it is not up to us to change the other person. It’s God’s role to change anyone according to His perfect timing. Our role is to pray and constantly show love and faith. While waiting for the other person to change, we need to do the things that God wants us to do, for us to have a new trajectory. Whenever we make a decision to obey the Lord no matter what, even if the prayers are still unanswered, it is still for our benefit. Our decisions on the new path that we’ll be taking will not just change our lives but our family’s as well… for those who are still single, for the benefit of their future family. For those kids who are praying earnestly for the fathers or parents to change, their role is to start seeing things according to God’s perspective, start building new paths according to God’s path. We can’t change the past but we can change the future.
BITS: Were you able to express to your father about your years of pain and brokenness?
DU: Yes I was able to tell my father how hurt I was, how it affected me, the kind of relationship that we had, that I was angry with him. The desire is not to tell him how bad he was but in helping him come to know The Lord. I invested more on sharing with him what he didn’t experience with his father and that is the love of Jesus. I would often express my love for him, I would often embrace him, text him how much I love him and when I see him, I would tell him personally how much I love him
BITS: So your father also had a poor model with his own father
DU: Oh yes.
BITS: Do you think that was a generational curse?
DU: Exactly. Children tend to do what children see even if it’s against our will to do bad things.
BITS: How do you break the generational curse?
DU: Not thru our own might but thru the power of The Father… that is by surrendering our lives to our Lord Jesus. The Lord will empower us through the Holy Spirit to break the bondage, the curse, and have that new character and life in Jesus.
BITS: For those family members who are not able to express their brokenness to the person who hurt them, or maybe the offending party did not ask for forgiveness. How can healing take place?
DU: Healing can take place the moment we humble ourselves before God. I believe the crucial period for me was when I talked to God; I admitted to Him how angry and hurt I was with my father. By being honest with God, He will really bring healing to our hearts. That’s the time God will enable us have the desire and courage to forgive and be reconciled.
BITS: In your marriage restoration did deliverance have any part?
DU: Deliverance will only take effect when you acknowledge your sins. I experienced my first deliverance during that dawn watch when I totally surrendered my life to God when I told God how hurt and angry I was and when I asked him to help me get rid of vices smoking, drinking, womanizing. That time, the Lord delivered me. It’s in the bible that the moment we surrender our lives to God, we become his children, His followers. Since Jesus said that all authority is given him, He also empowers us to do self deliverance by acknowledging, admitting that we need Him.
BITS: What a bout the ungodly soul ties with the women you were involved with outside of marriage?
DU: That’s one thing that I had to confess to God…that I had relationships with different women. It’s wrong for us to think that going to that person personally to ask for forgiveness will somehow cut those ties. The best thing for us to do is to ask God for forgiveness and acknowledge that we have done terrible mistakes by having affairs with different women. God himself will cut those soul ties.
BITS: Why do you think it’s not helpful for you to go back to those women to ask for forgiveness personally?
DU: It’s like going to the lion’s den because you are again exposing yourself to that temptation. I’m not saying that when you surrender your life to Christ you will no longer feel those temptations. In James, we are told to flee from temptations. So whenever we expose ourselves, that’s very dangerous.
BITS: What about if there are men who want to maintain communication with the women they had extramarital relationships with?
DU: The sincerity to be restored and transformed is questionable because maintaining communication is like assurance that if the marriage fails, meron pa akong babalikan (there is still a back up woman to go to). There’s no genuine intention to cut the relationship.
BITS: If you were talking to a wife of such a husband who has no clear genuine sincerity to cut off those communication lines with their past sexual partner(s), what would you say?
DU: Continue to submit and show kindness. It’s God’s role to put an end to the ungodly relationship. There are two ways: (1) God will ask the man to end it voluntarily; or (2) He will Himself put an end to it. If it’s God who moves, it is somehow more painful. For the wives, do not play the role of the Holy Spirit to convict your husband. If you nag the husband, it might be a trigger for the husband to entertain being reconciled with the other women.
BITS: How do you see your life now?
DU: I would constantly tell people that life is beautiful, that family is indeed a gift from God. This is the opposite mindset to the deceptions Satan placed in my heart that the only only way or the best way to enjoy life was by having fleshly pleasures. You can really enjoy your life with your wife and children as long as God is in the center of it.
BITS: Do you have a life verse?
DU: One of my favorite verses is when the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
BITS: Supposing the Pastor Danny Urquico of today met the 9 year old young boy, Danny Urquico, what would the Pastor tell the young boy?
DU: [a big smile] If ever I will be given that opportunity to talk to that young boy, I would tell him: “God has wonderful plans for you. You may feel like a nobody but you will be somebody because of your Lord Jesus. Whatever it is that you experience, The Lord allows it for some good reason and that is to use whatever you go through for a greater purpose, to reach out to as many people as you can and give them hope.”
BITS: Switching now, what would the young 9 year old Danny Urquico tell today’s Pastor Danny?
DU: The only reaction that the 9 year old Danny would feel is to be so proud of the old Pastor Danny.
BITS: If you saw Jesus today what would you tell him?
DU: No words can really express how grateful I am for the kind of grace that He has shown me. The only thing that keeps me out of trouble is that constant reminder of how Jesus loves me. I will just literally embrace him.
BITS: How can you keep steadfast in your walk and faith?
DU: To be reminded of the goodness of God, to be reminded of the trust He, my wife, leaders, and the church gave me is a constant reminder for me to be sane and to constantly do what is right and pleasing to the Lord. Whenever I wake up in the morning, that’s what I ask God: to guide me in all of my decisions that my life, at the end of the day, will be pleasing to Him.
BITS: What message do you have for the different hurting people this Christmas?
DU: It’s good that we have Christmas season wherein we have the opportunity to show love to one another but celebrating sweet times with the family should not only be during Christmas. Everyday is an opportunity for us to celebrate Christmas because it is not only about the season but about the reason why the Lord Jesus died for us and everyday is an oppportunity for us to show how much we love God by showing love and kindness to anyone . Christmas should not be seasonal, it should be a lifestyle.
BITS: Any parting words?
DU: We all have different stories to tell. These stories soon in God’s time will be used as His stories.
BITS: Can you please say a prayer for men who are currently prodigal husbands?
BITS: Can you please pray for the wives of those men?
Part 1: Transformation of a Prodigal Intro
Part 2: Early Years to Humbling Experience
Part 3: From Prodigal to Pastor